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Pioneer 10 &11 Preflight Facilities
BYEMAN
post Mar 29 2016, 02:08 PM
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Does anybody know which facilities at KSC and CCAFS that the Pioneer 10 & 11 probes used? Most JPL missions used Hangar/Building AO on CCAFS for non hazardous processing before moving to a hazardous processing facility such as ESA-60A or SAEF-1/2. But Pioneer were not JPL managed missions and hence my question. The pre launch press kits do not mention the specific facilities unlike other missions. Also, I am finding very few photos on line.

This is part of a larger project where I am documenting which facilities NASA used prepared its unmanned spacecraft before launch. I know there will be issues with the ones before 1963 or so. Most of those spacecraft did not contain propellant or hazardous materials or were not concerned about cleanliness. Project Ranger seems to be the first where I can document its prelaunch facilities. I am also covering commercial and military spacecraft up to 1990 where NASA provided the launch vehicle/service. Additionally, I am including shuttle deployed spacecraft but not sortie spacecraft.

Sources I am using so far:
Mission Press kits
Historical data and analysis for the first five years of KSC STS payload processing http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19860022999
Unmanned Launch Operations Facilities Handbook 1970
Project summary documents on NTRS
Mission history photos in a hallway at the MOSB.
Photos when I can find them

One of the reasons for documenting this is that many of the facilities were or being turned over to other users or were or are being demolished.

Here is a list of such facilities:
CCAFS
Hangar/Building AE
Hangar/Building AM
Hangar/Building AO
Hangar S
Explosive Safe Area - 60A
Explosive Safe Area - 5/6
Delta Spin Test Facility / Payload Spin Test Facility

KSC
Payload Hazardous Processing Facility
Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility - 2
Weight and Balance Building / Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility - 1 / Vertical Processing Facility
Payload Spin Test Facility - Replacement / Medium Payload Processing Facility

VAFB
Building 1610 / Payload Spin Test Facility
Hangar/Building 836

I include the commercial facilities for the commercial era (1983- present)

I will post the spread sheet after I clean it up some.
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ZLD
post Mar 29 2016, 02:28 PM
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You're best bet might be to start emailing people. I've contacted Ed Bell, curator at the NSSDC for various things when I was heavily into doing research for Wikipedia articles. Not that it's guarenteed to be in any of these but I did a lot of footwork in tracking down resources for historic NASA information and have a big list on my wikipedia user page that may be of help. Many of the links may have gone dark though - its been 6 years since I worked on that.


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tedstryk
post Mar 29 2016, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE (ZLD @ Mar 29 2016, 03:28 PM) *
You're best bet might be to start emailing people. I've contacted Ed Bell, curator at the NSSDC for various things when I was heavily into doing research for Wikipedia articles. Not that it's guarenteed to be in any of these but I did a lot of footwork in tracking down resources for historic NASA information and have a big list on my wikipedia user page that may be of help. Many of the links may have gone dark though - its been 6 years since I worked on that.


I don't know a lot about it. I've worked a lot with the data returned, but I don't know the specifics of pre-launch preperation. Your best bet is to contact the NASA Ames History Office. Ames managed the product, and their history office library is the repository for a great deal of the documentation relating to the project.

Best of luck!

Ted


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mcaplinger
post Mar 29 2016, 03:07 PM
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There's a photo of Pioneer 10 on its upper stage linked from the wikipedia entry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_10#/m...s_kickmotor.jpg

I don't recognize the facility. As far as I know, PHSF wasn't even built until the mid-1980s.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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Leither
post Mar 29 2016, 04:26 PM
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NASA SP-349 'Pioneer Odyssey' states 'To ensure operational readiness...it was tested through a simulated countdown in Building A0.' (p64). It then goes on to say the RTGs were installed. propellants loaded, spacecraft mated to third stage and encapsulated, the whole assembly then being transferred to the launch pad and mated to the Atlas-Centaur. The entry show a similar picture to that posted by mcaplinger above, including part of the shroud.
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BYEMAN
post Mar 29 2016, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (Leither @ Mar 29 2016, 12:26 PM) *
NASA SP-36 'Pioneer Odyssey' states 'To ensure operational readiness...it was tested through a simulated countdown in Building A0.' (p64). It then goes on to say the RTGs were installed. propellants loaded, spacecraft mated to third stage and encapsulated, the whole assembly then being transferred to the launch pad and mated to the Atlas-Centaur. The entry show a similar picture to that posted by mcaplinger above, including part of the shroud.



Thanks, I just saw that today also. But it reveals one of the problems with historical documents, incomplete information. I know that propellants and solid motors were/are not allowed in Building AO and so it had to have moved to another building for those operations. If this is before SAEF-1/2 were activated, then the hazardous processing facility was likely ESA-60A.

I might go look through KSC photo archives and look at photos taken of spacecraft preparations. Usually, the location is documented on the photo.
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